Emotions boiled over Friday evening at the trial of Lynn and Lindsey Maxwell, as the defense lawyer got into a parking lot dispute with a spectator and taunted the prosecutor during court.
The Maxwells are accused of misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of Lindsey’s daughter, Erin, who died last August 29 at their home in Palermo.Ã‚Â Step-brother Alan Jones is accused of sexually assaulting and murdering her.Ã‚Â Police allege Erin was endangered by the large amount of cat feces and urine odor in the home, and by the locks on the outside of her bedroom door.
During a break in the trial, defense lawyer Sal Lanza got into an argument in the parking lot of Palermo Town Hall with a person who has been attending the trial, who called him a “f—ing lawyer”.Ã‚Â Lanza said as court resumed that he knew the woman and wanted the judge simply to take note of the incident.
Back in court, the judge’s microphone fell over at one point, making a loud pop that startled many folks, including Lanza, who half-joked, “I thought it was my enemies.”
At the end of the night, prosecutor Mark Moody gathered spectators in the parking lot and said that confrontations would not help him win a conviction.Ã‚Â “I gotta ask that people, please, please, calm down.”Ã‚Â If you get irritated again, he said, “walk to a neutral corner.”
Two State Troopers arrived at court at the end of the night to deter any further incidents.
Tensions ran high inside the courtroom as well.Ã‚Â Lanza had already drawn the ire of Palermo Town Justice Robert Wood for making sarcastic remarks in front of the jury.Ã‚Â As he asked State Police Inv. Joseph Harriger, time and again, why no samples were ever taken of the feces or urine in the home, he said, “some investigation.”
It was one of several comments made during the night that was stricken from the official record.
Not long after, he complained about prosecutor Mark Moody, who stood frequently during Lanza’s cross-examination to raise objections.Ã‚Â “You know, Mr. Moody’s gonna have strong legs from jumping up and down.”
“No more remarks like this,” warned Wood.
But moments later, as Moody verbally groped for a word, Lanza mimicked him.Ã‚Â Wood, clearly irritated, rose from his seat and ordered the lawyers into a side room.
But after the break, Lanza made direct comments about Wood.Ã‚Â “It’s obvious you’re irritated about something,” he told Wood, a non-lawyer who is handling his first jury trial.Ã‚Â “If it’s too hot for you…”
As for the evidence in the trial, Lanza continued to hammer away at several themes: police did not test the feces and urine odor to determine if it was harmful, police and the prosecutor have ignored aspects of the doors on Erin’s room and the locks on those doors that made it possible for Erin to get out on her own, and police and prosecutors have said animal waste was “throughout” the house when it was not in every room of the house.
The trial resumes with an all-day Saturday session at 9:00 a.m.
[Note: This article was edited after publication to remove a factual inaccuracy.]